In Paris, contactless catering is diversifying with Yu Xiang Ting, the first Chinese restaurant

A light electronic sound pierces the background music. The train starts moving. Equipped with a wagon on which a broth has been placed, the locomotive launches this culinary adventure on a model extremely common in China. Open since April in the capital, Yu Xiang Ting (IIe) is the first contactless restaurant in France. The concept is simple: for €29.90, customers are entitled to unlimited Chinese fondue. After being greeted by a waitress who explains how the place works, no further contact is necessary until payment.

Once the train is parked above the counter with a broth previously chosen by the customer from their phone, dozens of bowls of food appear on a conveyor belt. All you have to do is grab your broth, place it on the hotplate in front of you and turn it on. Then, to enhance it, each guest selects the ingredients they want by seeing them pass several times before their eyes. A small sauce bar is also set up near the entrance.

A small electric train brings the broth chosen by customers.

“Our goal was to allow customers to freely choose the dishes they like,” explains Meiling, the manager. We have moved from traditional buffet service to a system where dishes are brought directly to their table. » Seaweed and mushrooms for Benjamin, fried tofu and beef for Gaëlle… There’s something for everyone. Between Asian specialties such as spring rolls or bamboo, there are bowls of cuttlefish, pork or even herbs to season your dish.

An “impressive choice”

“There’s really a lot of choice, it’s impressive,” comments Benjamin. There are no repeating ingredients so there is something for everyone. » Once served, customers cook their own meats and other starchy foods in their broth. Desserts such as mini donuts or fruit are also offered.

“Each table is equipped with a smoke extraction system, so you won’t smell any odor on your clothes after eating,” explains Meiling, who opened this first automated Chinese fondue restaurant in France alongside her mother. and his uncle.

Meiling (right) opened Yu Xiang Ting with her mother Meihong (center), and her uncle Huachun (left).

Near the discreet extraction grill, a red button which the customer can press to call one of the two waitresses if necessary. “I’m a bit introverted so the bell to call the waiter is good for me,” admits Thomas, who is coming for the first time. You can really try a lot of things without having to ask anything. »

A “free and interactive” experience

” It is very simple. The waitress briefed us at the beginning to explain to us how it worked because it was the first time we had come, but after that it worked itself out,” Lila also appreciates.

After traveling to Japan, where food conveyor belts are commonplace in restaurants, the young woman came across an Instagram video by Yu Xiang Ting, which made her want to rediscover this concept that she had loved in Asia. “It’s great, we’re not used to going to restaurants like that. It makes you very hungry to see all this food turning around. »

“Our customers generally appreciate this free and interactive experience, knowing that they can always call us if they need to,” says Meiling. “I love the fact of being able to eat in peace,” says Gaëlle. The quality is not that of a great restaurant, but it is very good for the price. » The train is now at the platform, the guests can leave.

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